Hunter Bell at her Cakewalk Style Shop appearance. Photo credit: Point & Click Photography.
Cakewalk Style Shop. Photo credit: Point & Click Photography.
Hunter Bell helping out a customer. Photo credit: Point & Click Photography.
New York-based designer Hunter Bell founded her line of fun but fierce clothing in 2006; now she’s carried in 100 boutiques nationwide. The Southern bombshell may live in New York City, where her brand becomes a reality, but she often visits her husband’s family right here in Houston. She recently came to town for a trunk show at Cakewalk Style Shop, where we browsed her holiday and spring collections — and enjoyed this spunky conversation with the designer herself.
THE KIND OF GIRL YOU DESIGN FOR.
The collection has always been really clean but still feminine, representing the sophistication of a southern woman — but we like her to be a little edgy. I enjoy making a juxtaposition within my collections of the two parts of my life: the south and the northeast, aka Manhattan.
THE FIRST PINCH-WORTHY CELEB YOU SAW WEARING YOUR CLOTHES.
I launched the business in 2006. In the beginning you don’t have a PR team, you don’t really expect anything, so when you see an actress such as Lake Bell — who is so cool, attractive and sexy — making a statement wearing your collection in magazines, you just kinda pinch yourself. I always appreciate women wearing the collection.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN WALKING DOWN THE STREETS OF NYC AND SPOTTED SOMEONE WEARING YOUR CLOTHES?
Absolutely. And just recently, I went back to [my alma mater] the University of Alabama for a football game and was sitting in a restaurant having dinner. A girl was wearing one of my jackets, and I thought to myself, ‘That’s even cooler.’ Somebody from my old stopping grounds, from my roots, appreciating my collection, my designs. And she knew who I was. I had to be, like, “I love your jacket. I designed it.” But she was super cool, super nice.
THAT PROBABLY MADE HER NIGHT.
Yeah, and it made my night!
WHAT DO YOU GO WEAK IN THE KNEES FOR?
Kindness. Like buyers and owners of stores, such as Cakewalk, that embrace your brand. We work so hard as designers on the other end of the spectrum, where we are trying to make magic happen with every collection. And I have to say, there are a lot of not-so-nice buyers in this industry. So women and men who own stores and want to support you and put your business up on a pedestal … That just allows me to feel like I am being supported. It’s crazy, you’d be surprised.
ONE PIECE OF CLOTHING EVERY GIRL NEEDS.
A black quilted Chanel bag. Duh!
WHAT DO YOU WANT OUR READERS TO KNOW?
All of our products were made 100 percent in the garment district in NY. We really pride ourselves on domestic production. All of our prints are custom for our collection. We’re in over 150 stores nationwide. Some of our larger readers are Shopbop.com, Revolve.com and Nordstrom. It would be cool to produce in Houston one day, if that opportunity ever presented itself.